Hi! I've been meaning to get around to reading the entries from the Around the World challenge, because I love travelling and reading about other cultures and I was so intrigued to see what people chose to write about. This was such an interesting story!
I have to admit that I don't know much at all about China (I'd love to visit, and learn much more about the culture) but this was really fascinating for me to read. Part of me would have liked you to include more about Chinese culture/the surroundings etc so that I get a better feel for the setting, but I think that's mostly personal preference, and I understand why there's not as much about it because of the distinction you're placing here on the two worlds.
The opening of this story was so effective - it felt very normal and calm, just an everyday event, and then the story takes a really dramatic turn and the poor character (I'm not sure if I've missed their name here or if that was deliberate?) is tortured by a Death Eater who has found his way to China.
Second person is my favourite narrative voice, and I think you used it brilliantly here. It almost felt as if the pain and torture was happening to me because of the way this was addressed to the reader, and it heightened the emotions I was feeling and my sympathy for your protagonist.
It was so interesting to see the way that the Death Eaters had transitioned over to China, as well, although their group had another name there and it wasn't illegal to perform the Unforgivable Curses. It makes a lot of sense ot me that the same groups would exist in different countries, because when we see the blood purity argument as an allegory for racism in our world, it's obvious that it exists in almost every country and unfortunately is becoming more and more of an issue in some of them.
I loved your inclusion of Cho in this story, too! I'm so glad that she was there to come to the aid of the poor Muggle who'd stumbled into the path of a Death Eater, and that we got to see her embracing her heritage - speaking Mandarin and knowing the city they're in, too. I thought you managed a good balance between the information she was able to share and everything she had to try and hide about the two worlds - I'd love to see more about these characters and see them as friends later on <3
I thought this was a really interesting concept to do a story about! I love the aspect of wizard/muggle. I thought Cho was the main character so I was a little confused at first but it clicked it was your OC after a bit ha ha!
I thought your description of China was interesting, I don't know much about the country but she isn't making it sound very appealing! haha. does your OC have a name? I don't think it was ever spoken? was that on purpose because you've used the second person so you wanted the reader to have better insight into her mind? I thought the second person was used in a very effective way. it can be difficult to work that well but I thought you did a great job!
I really thought your OC thought process was really great, you can feel her terror and her confusion! what made him pick your OC though? was it random? was Cho tracking him? otherwise that was really lucky that she came along! you really nailed the torture scene, it was really intense and graphic your description of her pain. I thought the part when she says 'It takes you several minutes to realise the cry is coming from your own mouth.' that was really chilling!
I love Cho trying to explain their world without giving too much away. She doesn't do that good a job at it. haha. I really liked the relationship developing between your two characters, I love to see more of that. I'm not sure if you meant it to be romantic but I like that it was left opened ended. I thought it was a really unique concept and you pulled it off really well. well done <3
- Abbi xo
I'm here from the Wizards around the world Challenge, thank you for your entry!
I think it was a really great choice to write this story in second person, this combined with the fact that the protagonist is a Muggle, really makes the reader feel for her. I mean it totally feels as if the story could be happening to me or to any of us.
I also like how you give us information about the country you've chosen for this challenge, about problems such as air pollution or the young wanting to leave the country. Overall I think you did a great job here. I would have liked for you to incorporate more chinese magic (although you did invent a Chinese name for 'death eaters' which is great!)
The only part that was not believable for me was the torture scene. I see what you were trying to do with the description, but somehow it didn't really work for me, instead of conveying the pain that this poor girl was feeling it broke the scene ("a live animal being dissected by cruel scientists for an experiment" - maybe just because I'm a scientist working with animals... ;-)). Also, I don't think that anyone in that much pain would have any coherent thoughts ("Your mother always said how painful giving birth to a child was"), maybe flashbacks, but those too would come in retrospect not while experiencing the pain. But I have to admit you have some text also in this paragraph that works great ("you're vaguely aware of a piercing cry that fills the whole air").
I thought that Cho's characterization was good, I can imagine her behave in a situation like this the way she did. Overall I thought this was a great story, not only to explore a country we know very little about but also to present how things are shortly after the war.
Do you have any specific reason for selecting a different title for the story and the chapter? Just asking aout of curiosity :) I thought that the story title, really well reflected the story!
Hey there - dropping by for BvB Tag :) I have a soft spot for Cho Chang - she always gets such a rough ride from fans, poor girl - and dark/horror, so I had to stop by - I hope that's okay ;)
And I loved this! I love how it goes to China - it was so obvious with the mask and the descriptions (though you could always add more - but then I'm so bad for description, haha, I always want more :P) - and I love how it links in with the main HP series with this idea that there are splinter Death Eater groups, or similar groups springing up in other countries. It makes so much sense that that would happen, you know? And I liked the reference that the Cruciatus curse is legal there - or using it on muggles is legal - because it's so realistic for places to have different laws and different ways of dealing with things, and I love that you used that :)
I love your characters, too. I like how you showed Cho being brave, defending the other girl from the Death Eater, how she helped and then tried to explain stuff as much as she could without breaking the Statute - and I loved the nod to that and how difficult it would be to keep within it, haha, because I always thought that was a major flaw with it, yk? :P - and how they sort of become friends over that. There's something so nice about the way Cho helps the other girl, even though she doesn't have to, because she can, and how she looks after her, taking her back to her flat.
I loved Cho's backstory as well - how she was born in China and moved to the UK. How she didn't want to go to Mahoutokoro (I might have spelt that wrong - sorry!) in Japan, even though it was closer :/ It was a lovely insight into a character we don't really know that much about and don't learn much about, and I liked that you developed that :)
Your writing was so lovely in this, too - it was so clear and so emotive, allowing the girl's fear and Cho's nervousness and then bravery and their equal curiosity to come through so wonderfully. It was so, so good :)
Wow, I'm so glad you liked this! It was quite a challenge to include things about China without going slightly overboard, of you know what I mean. And I'm a total failure when it comes to descriptions, but it was still fun to write :)
And a brave Cho is totally the best- I'm glad you liked her characterisation! She isn't my favourite character tbh, but I do think people are a bit hard on her, because apart from being a bit emotional, she didn't do anything really. I think deep down, she's a kind person, so I tried reflecting that here and having her save the girl (I should probably have thought of a name since she's the MC...I was feeling lazy when I wrote this :P). And I know that I would have died trying not to break the Statute if I was a witch ;)
Thanks for your comment about my writing style (and dw, you spelt the Japanese school's name right :)), and for such an amazing review <3
Your brain screams at you to run, because somehow you know this is someone who shouldn't be messed with, but your body is frozen.
RUN! For heavens sake, run! My jumped in my chest when I read the above sentence. This is like one of those horror movies you watch where the girl is out walking by herself and then someone pops out of nowhere. Heck, this is like real life and it totally freaks me out because I know too many people that have been robbed. One minute they're strolling down the street and the next minute they turn a corner and a guy has a gun to their head. Thankfully they've all made it out alive but I'm seriously afraid to go walking around certain places at night. Man, this story is going to give me nightmares.
Your heart stops dead as your hear the man whisper "That was just the beginning."
My skin is crawling. This is seriously my worst nightmare.
But with that aside this story was very cool! It was extremely graphic and unnerving but once Cho was there I felt like I could breathe a little better. She not only saved the day but she totally swept in like the badass that I think she is! More people should write about her. I think you did an incredible job writing about magic in another country and incorporating a canon character into the mix. The second person worked well because I felt like I could connect to the muggle character as a muggle myself!
Oh and I don't know if it was intentional but I felt like it was a tiny nod to Hagrid when she says, "I shouldn't have said that." Though I like how chill she was about it even though it was after all an innocent accident that didn't give too much away. I just thought that was funny and a nice touch.
Woah, the point of this story was definitely not to give you nightmares...or maybe it was? Lol, just kidding. But omg, I hate it when they do that in horror movies. It's so damn creepy! I'd never thought of comparing this to real life but now that I think of it, it happens pretty often *sighs*
Yes, Cho came to save the day! She's definitely not my favourite person but I felt like she would be kind enough to save a Muggle in a situation like that. And I agree, people should totally write more about her, because her character isn't exactly simple and is rather dimensional, unlike some main characters in the books *cough, Harry, who is literally just your typical hero but exaggerated (no, I don't like him). The second person was a fun experiment for me, just to see how different it could make a story, but I'm glad you felt you could connect more to the OC. (Though it would be great if we WEREN'T muggles)
I was thinking of Hagrid when I wrote that! He was literally the basis for Cho's portrayal when I wrote about her explaining 'her world'. They both tried hard to not give away essential details, but still manage to let things slip. I felt like that tiny touch of fluff/humour/whatever was needed the whole story, which was (as you pointed out) very dark.
I seriously didn't mean for it to be this creepy, but I'm glad you still liked it! Thanks so much for this awesome review :D